Fraud is one of the biggest challenges Nigeria is facing both at home and abroad. On the home front, fraudsters are arrested almost every week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
On the international front, Nigeria and Nigerians are notorious for fraud-internet, bank, and credit cards amongst others. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), INTERPOL and EFCC are all working to combat this problem because millions of dollars have been lost to internet scams
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2019 Internet Crime Report includes information from 467,361 complaints of suspected Internet crime, with reported losses in excess of $3.5 billion. The top three crime types reported by victims in 2019 were phishing/vishing/smishing/pharming, non-payment/non-delivery, and extortion.
In one way or the other Nigerians are involved in these scams.
The Washington Post reported in August 2019 that the Federal prosecutors indicted 80 people on Thursday on charges connected to participation in online scams that raked in millions from unsuspecting victims in the United States and abroad.
The suspected fraudsters, many of whom are Nigerian nationals, prosecutors say, who used online romance scams, schemes targeting elderly people and business email compromise (BEC) scams, in which legitimate companies are compromised to facilitate the illegal transfer of fund.”
Hence, when reports of a top or popular Nigerian is arrested for internet fraud, it does not come as a surprise to some. And of course, a handful has been arrested and we identify some of them.
Obinwanne Okeke aka Invictus Obi, the CEO of Invictus was arrested between the 2nd and 6th of August, 2019 by the FBI for conspiracy to commit computer fraud and wire fraud. He was accused of receiving $11 million (N3.9 billion) under false pretense. The FBI opened their investigation in July of 2018 which led them to Mr. Okeke who was about to leave the US when he was arrested. In 2016, he was named in the Forbes’ “30 under 30” list which profiles young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs under the age of 30.
Ismaila Mustapha‘s flamboyance cannot go unnoticed if are regular on Instagram. Mompha as he is popularly called shows off fleets of luxury cars, designer wears, and a host stupendously expensive item. However, Mompha was arrested on Friday, 18 October 2019 by the EFCC at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while he was on his way to Dubai. EFCC also added that Mompha camouflages as a bureau de change operator and has used his firm-Ismalob Global Investments Limited-to launder about N14 billion.
News of the arrest of Hushpuppi for internet fraud broke recently. Raymond Igbalodely was reportedly arrested in the United Arab Emirates. He was alleged to have been whisked away after intercepting coronavirus funds up to the tune of $35 million. The Real estate agent and his alleged fraud syndicate were said to have been on the radar of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, FBI. Just like Mompha, he loves to show off his wealth on Instagram.
A talented singer, Oyindamola Johnson Emmanuel aka Dammy Krane had a bright musical future ahead of him and he had Hypertek Records owned by 2Baba to push him to the zenith of music. However, his music career was halted in 2017 after he was arrested for credit card fraud. An American jet company, Tapjets, accused the singer of using five different credit cards that did not belong to him while trying to book a private jet with them.
Back in 2016, Babalola Falemi aka Sinzu aka Sauce Kid was arrested for stealing over 15 bank cards and retrieving the information of the owners. He reportedly stole$15,388 from the unsuspecting victims. He jailed for two years. After he left jail, Davido signed him to DMW. Regardless, he has struggled to make a comeback.
Allen Onyema is the CEO of arguably Nigerian’s biggest airline, Air Peace. He is one of the most loved personalities in Nigeria because of his philanthropy. So, it came as a shock when news broke in November 2019 that the FBI has indicted him for bank fraud and money laundering. He was reportedly charged for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes. He has reportedly denied any wrongdoing.